The Department of Neuroscience is located within the university's Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. The department, established in 1986 as an expansion of the program in behavioral neuroscience, was founded on the notion that neuroscience was an up and coming discipline that belonged as an undergraduate major and a field of graduate study. During the past 30 years the field of neuroscience has exploded and the department has developed into a vibrant academic unit.
The Undergraduate Program attracts a large and academically successful group of majors, the majority of whom go on to medical or graduate school. The faculty and graduate students form a substantial component of the campus-wide Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh (CNUP), an organization that serves the entire community of neuroscientists at Pitt and is the administrative unit of a world-class doctoral program in neuroscience.
Our Dietrich School faculty are a distinguished group of scientific investigators; they are very productive in the laboratory, and they have received numerous grants and awards for their research. Also distinctive are the collegial interactions that occur among the faculty members, which provide new ideas and approaches to their research programs. The total number of faculty members with primary tenure-stream appointments is 15, though interactions in the more expansive Center for Neuroscience, which includes more than 100 neuroscience-related faculty whose primary appointments are elsewhere on campus or at neighboring Carnegie Mellon University, provides an extensive neuroscience community.
Our doctoral training program in the CNUP is thriving. We draw from a large pool of excellent applicants, and our students develop first-rate academic and research skills as they progress towards a PhD degree. Our small Masters Degree program is also thriving and our undergraduate program similarly is excellent. Our courses are well taught and demanding, and each year we attract a sizable group of outstanding students despite the fact that students with interests in the biomedical sciences typically do not enter college aware of neuroscience as a discipline. A remarkable number of these undergraduate students participate actively in the laboratory research programs of our faculty. Thus, the Department's faculty represent a group of dedicated instructors and mentors as well as scientists.
The major strengths of the Department of Neuroscience are its personnel—faculty, graduate students, research associates, and staff—and their commitment to excellence in teaching, training, and research. There is in the department a strong sense of respect for one another's talents, accomplishments, and personal integrity, a sense of communal mission with regard to our aspirations and goals in research and teaching, and a sense of confidence that we know what has to be done and can do it.
The Department has become successful and prominent based on the determination, energy, imagination, and skills of its faculty as investigators and as mentors, and on the support of the institution and the funding agencies. Consequently, morale is high and so is our optimism that we will continue to develop and maintain a world-class department.